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Photographing wildlife in Costa Rica (amateur)

Seattle, Washington
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Photographing wildlife in Costa Rica (amateur)

I'm going to consider this travel related since I'll be heading back to Costa Rica later this month. :-)

I recently upgraded my camera from an Olympus point and shoot with 10x zoom to a Canon Rebel T3 DSLR and besides the 18-55mm lens that comes with it I've purchased a 55-250mm lens. I won't have time to take a photography class with it before my trip and although I will use it a lot and practice with it over the next couple of weeks I wonder if anyone can offer solid DSLR tips for wildlife photography, specifically shooting up into the canopy because that's where it's been most difficult for me to get good shots in the past.

Any helpful comments are appreciated!

Bermuda
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for Bermuda
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1. Re: Photographing wildlife in Costa Rica (amateur)

it takes a very steady hand to get a good shot while using a lot of zoom. maybe you should consider getting a monopod to get clearer shots of those far away animals.

Seattle, Washington
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2. Re: Photographing wildlife in Costa Rica (amateur)

thank you sonny, i'll look into that. i was hoping with the image stabilization there wouldn't be a need but i'll definitely be playing around with it a lot and still have time to get one. i'll also still take my olympus since this is so new for me.

Owen Sound, Canada
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3. Re: Photographing wildlife in Costa Rica (amateur)

With image stabilization you won't have the slighest problem hand held at 250mm.

Generally anything you photograph overhead is likely to be backlit, so compensate your exposure appropriately.

Try getting out early in the morning...the light is excellent and you can often get great shots of birds feeding in gardens, or if you can find a fruiting tree...they are like bird magnets. If you are at a lodge or hotel that has bird feeders check out the twigs /branches where the birds sit before they come into the feeders and take photos there, rather than with the artificial background of the feeders.

Try to get to a location, [a small hill, for example, or a balcony] where you can shoot more or less into the tree canopy, rather than having to look up into the canopy and deal with the nasty light.

Early mornings are also very good for seeing some of the commoner mammals like agouti and coati.

Just a few thoughts...

Washington
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4. Re: Photographing wildlife in Costa Rica (amateur)

Hey storm. Congrats on your camera. I just bought a canon a couple weeks ago. Check out my camera post. If u have a chance, go to woodland park zoo. I bought the same zoom lens and it is amazing. That is what I did last weekend and it was really helpful. Also there are some wildlife books at b&n that look

great but were a little too expensive for

me. Our pics are going to be night and day compared to our last trip. Cant wait! Oh and let me know if you found a camera bag that u recommend.

Seattle, Washington
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5. Re: Photographing wildlife in Costa Rica (amateur)

Geographic- thanks I'll definitely keep all that into consideration. I'm glad to hear the image stabilization is adequate. Its not that I have a hard time seeing wildlife it's just the photography part so I suppose that's where I need more practice.

Kelly - that's a great idea i just might do that. I was planning on the arboretum but zoo might be better.

San Jose, Costa Rica
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6. Re: Photographing wildlife in Costa Rica (amateur)

Incredible place for bird watchers and take great pictures...Sarapiqui...and is only 2 hours from San Jose...and from there you can keep going to Caribbean beaches...or Arenal Volcano...

La Selva Lodge by OTS...great place to stay.. a lot of fun people like you looking for the perfect picture...nice sloths...green and red macaws...monkies some snakes...a lot of incredible insects and plants...

roadadvisor

Edited: 11 June 2011, 06:13
Slovenia
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7. Re: Photographing wildlife in Costa Rica (amateur)

Excellent advices by Geographic, however have to disagree about the handheld. Usually the light under the canopy is poor and if not having a fast lens (2,8) then at least take a monopod with a ball head.

Washington
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8. Re: Photographing wildlife in Costa Rica (amateur)

Hey storm, just wanted to let you know that best buy had an incredible selection of camera bags. Also I didnt see any signs but I got 30percent off a sling camera backpack and two filters. I got a uv which will protect the lens from scratches for only 10 bucks. Also got another lens that blurs running water. Thought that would be great for the waterfall pics. Anyway just wanted to let you know.

Chicago
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9. Re: Photographing wildlife in Costa Rica (amateur)

Hi! I just happened upon your post - my husband and I are headed to CR in just over a week and are in a similar situation. I bought a DSLR back in February and am hoping to take some amazing wildlife pictures. My biggest concern is making sure not to get the camera wet and preventing fogging from the changes in humidity.

Anyhow, I wanted to post about the camera bag. We took our DSLR to Kauai with us in March and, before we left, we got a LowePro Slingshot. It was large enough to hold the camera body with a lens attached, an extra lens, the charger, our point and shoot and our camcorder. It also has a rain shield tucked into the bottom of the bag that can be pulled out and over if the weather turns bad. I am really confident that this will be a great bag for our Costa Rica trip! I know they had it at Best Buy, so if you can get it for 30%, all the better! We bought it online from Meijer because their price was better than anything else I could find.

Have fun!

Washington
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10. Re: Photographing wildlife in Costa Rica (amateur)

That is the Exact one I got. As soon as I saw the rain slipcover I was sold. Looks like you need to buy three camera related items for the 30percent off.